The Spitfires kicked off their pre-season with a 2-0 defeat to League One side Bristol Rovers at the Silverlake Stadium.

Goals from Scott Sinclair and John Marquis were the difference as Rovers claimed a hard-fought win over the hosts.

Eastleigh started the game brightly, as Kaya Tshaka crashed an effort into the side-netting in the third minute.

A few minutes later, Sinclair shot straight at Joe McDonnell for his first test in the game.

Sam Finley then fired over, as the visitors began to create a series of chances in the opening 10 minutes of play.

Jevani Brown raced clear and was through one-on-one with McDonnell, but the goalkeeper won the ball cleanly and cleared away any danger.

Rovers broke away in the 27th minute, and some nice interplay between Brown and Aaron Collins led to Sinclair tapping in from close range.

Five minutes before the break, Ryan Loft dragged an effort wide of the mark, as the visitors continued to search for a second goal.

Just before the half, Grant Ward fizzed a shot wide for the visitors as they continued to pile the pressure on.

Kaya Tshaka fires in an effort during the first half.

The second half started at a frantic pace, as Charlie Carter rattled the crossbar with his first touch of the ball, having just entered the action.

Oscar Rutherford’s pace down the right-hand side caused problems for the visitors at the back, as he sent in a teasing cross which went behind for a corner.

Rutherford continued to pose a threat down the right, but the Rovers defence dealt with his crosses well.

The visitors doubled their advantage in the 64th minute, when Luca Hoole played in a fine cross from the right for Marquis to slot in from close range.

Marquis then played in Luke McCormick with a fine ball, but McDonnell saved well to prevent a third goal.

That proved to be the final big chance of the match, as the visitors saw out an impressive win in Hampshire.

Eastleigh (first half): McDonnell, Clampin, Atangana, Martin, McCallum, Barlow, Hodson, Trialist A, Tshaka, Bragg, Yang

Subs: Scott, Stock, Trialist D, Trialist E, Chalwell

Bristol Rovers (first half): J.Ward, Gibbons, Wilson, Connolly, Jones, Finley, G.Ward, Sinclair, Brown, Collins, Loft

Eastleigh (second half): McDonnell (71), Carter, Taylor, Boldewijn, Langston, Trialist (65), Nwaboukei, Trialist, Trialist, Rutherford, Bragg

Subs: Simpson (65), Stock, Trialist, Trialist, Chalwell, Scott (71)

Bristol Rovers (second half): Belshaw, Gibbons, Hoole, Friend, Jones, Evans, Kurtaran, McCormick, Thomas, Marquis, Greenslade

Match Report by: Tom Humphrey